A “Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product” has landed a nutritional seal of approval, despite being unable to call itself “cheese” because less than 51% of it actually is “cheese.”
What’s this new label? It emerged in the ongoing project of providing healthy food to kids, but it may be nothing more than an industry-backed attempt to lure parents into bolstering slumping sales. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ (AND) Kids Eat Right education program is allowing Kraft Food Group to use the Kids Eat Right label on its Kraft Singles, a product that is questionably “cheese.” Kraft is hardly the paragon of healthy food companies, and Stephanie Strom of the New York Times explains that the labeling may have less to do with the nutritional value of the product and more to do with the Big Food influence over AND:
Over the last few years, the academy has been criticized from some of its members and health advocates over what they contend are its overly cozy ties to industry. Companies like PepsiCo, Kellogg and ConAgra regularly attend the organization’s big annual meeting, where they make presentations to dietitians, hold seminars and parties and provide free samples of their products."
Kraft Singles will be the very first product to get this seal and it’s hard to know, at this point, if any more products will receive this seemingly meaningless and definitely misleading label.
Anna Lappé, writer and food activist, sums up her feelings in this tweet:
Tom Philpott of Mother Jones, chimed in as well with his astute-as-always analysis of the food and agriculture industry:
In the end, though, slapping a kid's health label on such a highly processed food may do more to damage the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' brand than bolster Kraft's."
We agree. It is of the utmost importance to bolster the nutritional health of our children, and this is yet more evidence that we cannot count on industry-backed trade groups to guide us in this effort.
A Cheese ‘Product’ Gains Kids’ Nutrition Seal via The New York Times
Nutritionist Group: Feed Your Kid Kraft "Cheese Product” via Mother Jones